Stop digital billboards taking over Birmingham!

Birmingham City Centre is already full of digital advertising screens trying to get you to buy things you don’t want or need and causing unnecessary light pollution and energy use. In fact Ladywood contains the second highest number of outdoor ads in the whole country! But now advertising company Wildstone are targeting Birmingham suburbs too.

Three new applications to replace existing paper billboards with large digital screens have been made to Birmingham City Council – but you can object!

The applications are for:

  • 395 Warwick Road in Hall Green B11 2JR
  • 356 Bromford Lane in Hodge Hill B8 2RZ
  • 382 Hagley Road in Edgbaston B17 8BJ
    The image of the proposed site on Warwick Road from the application.

    Why object? We don’t need more advertising screens. Especially when each large screen uses the same electricity as 11 UK homes, and continue to advertise products that harm our health, like junk food, and climate-damaging products like flights, SUV cars and fossil fuel companies. Advertising promotes a culture of consumerism that’s outdated and trashing our planet, local places and communities around the world.

    Ad screens change the face of local neighbourhoods, the look and feel of where we live, with more light pollution, aggressive corporate presence, and distractions for drivers and other road users.

    People living near digital billboards experience unwanted light pollution, interrupted sleep, intrusive adverts with harmful content, distraction while driving and other impacts on health and wellbeing, according to 100 powerful testimonials collected by campaign group Adblock Bristol. Meanwhile, research shows that digital screens, with changing images, are more distracting for road users. These proposed digital billboards will show a new ad every 10 seconds and are all situated at major road junctions and near residential homes.

    Wildstone’s argument is that they are ‘rationalising’ and reducing the number of advertising sites by replacing multiple paper billboards with one digital screen. However, the impact of a digital billboard on local residents, particularly anyone with a light sensitivity, the safety of road users and pedestrians, and the environment is completely different and so these replacements should not be considered as ‘like for like’.  

    The proposed site on Bromford Lane which shows that the light from the screen would shine directly into a number of residential properties above the shops.

    How to object? You can lodge an objection to one or all of these proposals on the Birmingham City Council planning portal website:

    To make a comment go to ‘Submit comments here’.

    You will need to fill in your address details so that they know you are a local resident and email and phone number so that they can contact you about the outcome of the application. If you do not provide this information your objection may not be counted.

    The deadline for objections for all the applications is Wednesday 22nd May 2024 (end of day) – although sometimes the application stays open for comments beyond that date.

    What to include? In your objection, be sure to mention the two formal grounds under which applications for new advertising screens can be considered:

    1. Harm to the amenity of the area. (Meaning, will the screen affect your ability to enjoy the place you live, and the character of the area?) These large screens would be an overly bright, visually intrusive and incongruous addition to the area.
    2. Danger to road safety. The screens would act as a dangerous distraction to road users at a busy road junction. 

    Also explain what this development would mean to you and how it would affect your life. For example, do you live, work or play near the proposed site, do your children go to the local school or nursery, do you use the local shops and amenities, or do you cycle, walk or drive past this site? Make sure to make it personal to you.

    Image of the proposed site on Hagley Road from the application.

    Please pass this on to any relevant groups or organisations in the local area who may want to make objections too and let us know if you get any response to your comments.

    If you want to take more action against advertising in Birmingham you can contact the Adblock Brum group who are looking for more people to get involved.

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